RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Colorado Eagles evened their Turner Conference Finals series against the Rapid City Rush at one game apiece with a 4-3 win at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The penalty-filled game between the rival clubs was chippy throughout, with three goals — including the game-winner — coming on power plays.
Colorado used a pair of goals from Adam Hogg to build a 2-0 lead early in the first period, but the Rush would answer in the second half of the frame with three goals of their own, using traffic in front of Andrew Penner to help take the lead.
Hogg opened the scoring at 6:36 after taking the puck into the offensive zone and angling toward the left midboards before chipping it behind the net. Adam Chorneyko picked it up there and sent it to Steve Haddon at the right side of the low slot before Haddon found Hogg again with a back-door pass for a one-timer past Tim Boron. And just under two minutes later, Hogg picked up his second goal by putting home a Haddon rebound from the doorstep.
But at 10:56, Riley Weselowski cut Colorado’s lead in half when Konrad Reeder took a pass from Colt King and circled behind the Eagles’ net before finding Weselowski in the high slot for a shot past Penner.
And just under two minutes after that, Rapid City tied the game when Derek LeBlanc was able to pick up a loose puck at the right side of the crease and quickly put it into the cage. Then, at 16:03, Kevin Harvey deflected a Weselowski shot from the right point to make it 3-2 for the home team.
The Eagles carried the majority of the second period’s momentum, out-shooting the Rush 13-7, and tying the game at 3 with the frame’s only goal. That tally came at 8:23 after Dan Sullivan took the puck hard to the net and Aaron Schneekloth swooped in to poke home the rebound from the right side of the crease.
Both goaltenders were stellar in the third period, with Penner stonewalling the Rush on several power play chances, and Boron stopping CHL MVP Riley Nelson on a shorthanded breakaway midway through the period.
But with the Eagles working a 4-on-3 power play late in the frame, Kevin Ulanski — who led the league in the regular season with 11 game-winning goals — wasted little time (just eight seconds) into the advantage, scoring the deciding marker at 16:59.
Games 3 & 4 of the best-of-seven series will be played Tuesday, May 3 & Thursday, May 5 at the Budweiser Events Center. Game 5 will be back in Rapid City on Saturday, May 7.